Weight Loss

Are you here because you want to lose weight?  If the answer is yes, then you are in the right place!  As a college student, I gained the feshmen fifteen… THREE times.   Since then, I’ve battled to maintain my weight.  I can’t even count how many times I’ve gained and lost the same 10 lbs.  I call these my vanity pounds at this point in my life because it’s not for health but for my own satisfaction.

I’m far from perfect and on my blog, I continue to review new workout DVD’s, diets and recipes to report back to you what works and what is a waste of time and money.  Use this information to jump start your plan, but check back often for motivation, challenges and new ideas to stay on track!

In regards to my own diet plan, I eat a very clean diet.  I follow two programs myself and combine the participles of both.   I follow the Tone It Up Diet Plan and the Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno.  The TIU diet plan is more expensive at first but provides you with weekly motivation and workouts.  It’s kind of like joining the cool younger sister of a weight watchers program, but only they go out and have drinks and look more like a Victoria Secret model then say Kirstie Alley.  Katrina and I used to work together on Diet.com videos, and I could not be more proud of the company she has created.  The Eat Clean Diet has a variety of books.  I own the Eat Clean Recharged (the 2nd edition) and love it.  There is a newer version but I have not seen it yet.  The principles I imagine are the same.

Please consult your physician before you begin any new exercise program.

Program #1: I Need To Lose More Than 75 lbs or am a total fitness beginner

Key points:  Aim to burn 500-1000 calories each week with exercise.  Get at least 60-150 minutes of exercise a week.  Remember to warm up about for about 5 minutes and cool down for 5 minutes with stretching.

Cardio: 3 days a week for 20-30 minutes, at a light to moderate intensity (should be equivalent to 3000-3500 steps).  Examples; Walk on a treadmill at 3.5 mph, with a 4-6 incline, cycle, Leslie Sansone walking DVD, walk outside to the beat of “Staying Alive.”  For more ideas on how to workout in the moderate zone, watch this video.

Strength Program: 2 days a week, an be done on same day as cardio.  Should be done before if you are combing them.  Do each move 8-10 times, then move on to the next exercise.  Once you have done all 8 one time, go back to the beginning and repeat all moves one more time.

  • Squat (Missing from video)
  • Single Leg Lunge
  • Wall Pushup
  • Bicep Curl (Missing from video)
  • Tricep Extension
  • Shoulder Raise
  • Standing Crunch
  • Deadlift

Additional resources:


Program #2: I Want To Lose 30-75 lbs and Have Been Exercising For at Least 6 Months

This fitness plan is for anyone who has been exercising for at least the past 6 months or has previous experience with weights and getting back into the swing of things. If you have not yet introduced weights into your fitness plan, start here! This is for cardio junkies who want a faster resting metabolism too!  Cardio 3-5x a week for 20-40 minutes at a moderate intensity.  Moderate intensity can be found by substracting your age from 220, and then multiplying that number by .6 for the low end, and .8 for the high end.  Keep it in that range!

  • Cardio 1: Jog for 5 minutes, followed by walk for 1 minute, fast run for 1 minute, walk 1 minute, fast run 2 min, walk 1 min, run 3 mins, repeat.  Cool down with a nice 5 minute walk.
  • Cardio 2: Jog at a steady state for 40 minutes at an intensity you can do without stopping.  Not there yet?  Try walking at a brisk pace that gets your heart rate into this zone.
  • Cardio 3: Set treadmill incline to a 6, and speed to 3.5 mph.  Warm up for 5 mins, then up the hill to 10 incline and speed to 4 mph for 1 minute, rest down at 6 incline for 2 minutes, repeat for 10x.  Mix it up to beat boredom, rather than 2 minutes at a 6 incline, do one minute at 8, then 6.  Try this on a bike or elliptical using the resistance.

Strength Program:  Weights 2-3x a week. Do each move 8-12 times, rest for 30 second to 1 minute and repeat. Move on to the next move.  Watch the Jump Start Your Weight Loss workout video here.

  • Moves:
  • Sumo Squat
  • Single Leg Lunge
  • Bicep Curl
  • Lateral and Front Shoulder Raises
  • Overhead Tricep Extension
  • Modified Pushup
  • Supermans
  • Abs – Choose only one move (Bicycles, Crunch, Plank)

Program #3: I Want to Lose 30 lbs or Less

Once you begin to get down to a healthy weight, losing it become much more difficult.  If you thought the beginning was hard, wait until you get to the last ten.  While not impossible, do note that your goal weight may not be realistic.  If possible, find out what your body fat percentage is.  Going below 15% is not considered healthy.  You want to aim for a maximum of 31% body fat.  Most people will still want to lose weight, but these reasons are for vanity and not health.  Remember that!

Designed by Revolution Fitness CPT and Body Evolver founder, Mike D’Angelo, this program is a two day split. It’s ideal for someone who has at least 3-4 days to dedicate to strength training. It’s also perfect for cardio junkies looking to lose weight! It is not meant for beginners who do not have experience working in the gym.  Here is day 1 of my fat loss routine and below is day 2.

Start with a warm up until you break a sweat, which will be about 5-10 minutes on a cardio machine or dynamic stretching.  Do each move for 12-20 reps each, moving from one exercise to the next within each circuit.  One you have completed all 4 exercises in circuit 1, repeat the first four exercises 1-2 more times.  One you have completed the two-three sets, move on to circuit 2, and then 3.

Circuit 1

  • Sky Dives
  • Back Extensions
  • Overhead Press
  • Upright Row

Circuit 2

  • Long Handle Shoulder Pull
  • Triceps Dips (with exercise ball)
  • Triceps Pull down
  • Lateral Pull down


  • Assisted V Twist with Medicine Ball
  • Oblique Extension

You can watch all the moves above by this video.


28 Responses

  1. Hi Sarah,
    I really like what you wrote for Program #2 which gives me an idea to some quick changes I need for a plateau I’ve hit recently =/
    I also have a suggestion for the walking/jog thing; I have this app on my iPod that works with music and you can make it so you walk/jog/run and use inclines. It does intervals which I learned from you =) I’ve been using it for 2 to 3 months now and it’s great, its helped me progress a lot in jogging/running which I’ve never done before and I’ve lost a lot more calories than staying at one speed/incline. Its called Lolo, you can find these app(s) and descriptions at lolofit.com
    hopefully it can work for anyone else who’s just starting to consider using the treadmill since you can put beginner, intermediate, and expert =)
    keep up the awesome work!

  2. Hey Sarah!
    Recently I been inspired to get fit. I want to lose 5-10 pounds, targeting my abs and oblique muscles. However I am in high school and because of that most trainers are vary of showing me what to do. I watch alot of your videos and the gym I go to lacks alot of the machines you use.
    Can you please show some exercises that a student can do at home . Futhermore, can you please tell me which is more effective for burning fat- Cardio? Or weight training? I do 3 hours of cardio a week and mostly shoulder, chess, bicep, and tricep presses. What do you recormmed for me?
    I’m three pounds away from bring overweight.

    1. weight training!!!! I have all the info you asked for here on this site. Check out the “college student diet” section above for more tips!

  3. Hey Sarah,
    I really like your ideas and am going to try an challange you posted a while ago, I recently discovered you!

    I have recently lost 15 lbs, going from 140 to 125. Since I have reached my goal weight, I do want to tone up a bit more, but am more concerned with how to maintain. I was eating about 1400 calories and working out regularly 6 days a week. Doing yoga, run/walking 5k, and circuit training. Now I am not sure where to go with all this.


    1. That is amazing! The last 15 are the most difficult! I lose and gain my own 10 lbs on a regular basis. Remember how you got to your goal weight. Every time your weight swings back up a bit (don’t worry, it most likely will) just get back on track. Good luck and stay with it 🙂

      1. Linday,

        I am at 140 myself and looking to get to 125-130. What exercise routine do you follow?

        Your help would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Hiya Sarah!
    I am quite close to being overweight. I gain weight really easily, and it shows really badly on my waist and thighs. I am only fourteen, but my mom is forcing me to lose weight because she is afraid I will end up obese. I do lots of exercises before bed, like push ups and pilates for my thighs and butt, etc. but none of it seems to be working and I’m still gaining weight! Should I even be worried about this at my age? I don’t really have time to do any cardio or anything at home because of homework and studying, etc. Please help!
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Marina,
      The first thing to do is to look at what you are eating. The exercises that you are doing are not going to be able to take back the poor eating decisions during the day. You need first focus on what you are eating. Since you are young, join a school sports team like track where anyone can join! You can lose weight without exercise, but you need to make sure you are eating a reasonable diet! Stop eating junk food. Only eat foods that come from the ground (fruits, oatmeal, rice) and meats that have NO addidtives, no junk food. If there is an ingredient list, be weary if it is good for you. Check out the eat clean diet! It’s an amazing book.

  5. Hey Sarah,
    Is there anything I can do to change up my workouts how frequently to avoid or not a long term plateau? I’ve lost a big deal of weight (40lbs) and I don’t want to let the plateau get to me and discourage everything I’ve done so far and it’s kind of hard to eat right when everyone else in my family aren’t so worrisome about what they eat making me seem annoying to portions and etc.
    Anything I can do for more motivation?

    1. I wouldn’t worry a bout a plateau. It sounds like you are finding it hard to eat healthy. A plateau is when you do everything “right” and still can’t lose weight. Focus on doing everything right, some people (most people) don’t have plateaus. It’s just that they start getting soft and not following their plan.

      1. Oh okay, I guess i’ll have to get back to eating right and sticking to that decision not letting myself to be influenced by others to eat junk food. Can doing more card help a bit?

  6. Hi Sarah,
    I just came across your channel and became a big fan i plan to follow your beginner program, I just have one question i hope you can answer me . I’ve been sent food from diet watchers for 3 months now they send me 1200 calories meal a day ( breakfast -- lunch -- dinner and two snacks ) i usually don’t finish the meals so i probably eat less than 1200 calories . My problem is that i barley lost any weight in these 3 months and i became very frustrated . The health specialist told me that i should put off doing heavy exercising till i lose most of my weight . But, now i’m wondering if that was such a good idea . Can you give me some tips i need to lose 20 kilos the healthy way even if it takes time .

    looking forward to your reply.

  7. Hey Sarah, I’ve had the same problem as you where as you can flucate 10 lbs but lose it. I was the same way. My freshmen year I went from 170 to 120 lbs but ever since then i would gain 10 and lose it but this year I gained 15 and even though Im at a healthy weight Im not happy im back down to 130 but now I cant reach under 130 and I think it stems from muscle gain. I do the elliptical maybe 4x a week for an hour and I have noticed that my hips have gotten much bigger and Im very unsatisfied. My question is can I still use an elliptical for weight loss but without the muscle gain, and if yes, how?

    1. Tough question -- I personally find the elliptical is not as efficient as running and strength training. I’d suggest running intervals with strength training on different days. Aim for 5-6 for at least 45 minutes.

  8. question for you about the strength training: for purposes of efficiency (i work full-time and am in an MA program part-time), i do my cardio and strength on the same days (aim for 3-4 days/week). however, i’ve always done my strength AFTER my cardio, although i’ve heard (and you state above) that it’s better to flip that order. do you think it really makes a difference? i’ve had good results from my current regimen (lost about 25 lbs within about 6 months last year), but i wonder if i might be able to bust through a plateau if i switch? (can’t seem to budge the extra jiggle around my middle, although i’m quite lean and strong aside from that.) i think i’m concerned that i”ll exhaust my muscles and then won’t feel up to much cardio.

    i actually do NOT want to lose any more weight, but i’m hoping to lose that extra fat around my middle, or at least tone it up. i know i’m essentially built the way i’m built and i can’t expect to ‘redistribute’ fat, but it’s super frustrating to have fairly skinny arms and legs, not hips or butt, but jiggle around the middle!

    1. to be honest if you do not want to lose any more weight and want to lose fat, I would suggest doing a full hour of strength training first, do some cardio in the end if you want but start with strength. That will burn more fat at rest and allow you to lose the belly fat. You don’t even need the cardio to be honest though. Alternate days. Do 2 days of hard strength training and 2 days of hard interval cardio pushing you max heart rate for at least 1/2 of the time.

      1. cool- thanks for the tips! i was actually wondering if i should just focus on strength training for a while and see where that takes me. i had a congenital heart defect as a kid (which was repaired nearly 20 years ago), so heart/cardiovascular health is extra important to me; when i do cardio, i do primarily intervals, but it’s healthier for me (b/c of my history) to keep my heart rate below the max. so, i think the strength training will be my primary focus for a few weeks. would you recommend upping my protein intake, maybe? i eat mostly a plant-based clean diet as it is, but i think i could probably eat more protein.

        oh, and thanks for the advice! i’ve recently discovered your site, and it’s great! i’m a bostonian, as well, so am glad to read a local’s fitness/health blog! 🙂

  9. Hi Sarah! I’m trying to loose about 15 lb. I’m currently 180lb and 5’6. I’m more of an outdoor workout person. At the moment I run for 30 minutes and do ab workouts at home about four times a week. Though that does not seem enough. What do you suggest I do?

  10. hey Sarah,
    im trying to lose about 15-20lbs in 2-3 weeks, is that possible? please help me ’cause I’ve got a very important occasion coming up and i just don’t know what to do. so far im trying this diet routine, would it be helpful to let you know about it? i made it up.

    -Thanks in advance 🙂

  11. hi sarah i am 25 years mother of two kids weight 60kg. i want a good diet plan cas by doing diet my self i dont lose weight .please help

  12. hi sarah! i just found you on the internet. im in need of losing at least 10 pound in less than 10 days. im not quite sure if thats possible but at least 7 pounds off me would be great. is there a possible workout or anything i can do to help me reach my goal? thanks a lot and i apprecaite what you to help people in need 🙂

  13. Hi sarah,
    im 64kg(141lbs), 5’4”(160cm)
    ive been doing some strength training as well as cardio (i do it about 4-5 days a week) for the past month so far ive lost about 1 kg but really noticing a difference.
    i really want to lose that last 5kg(11lbs). ive been mainly focusing on the strength training doing it for about an hour and cardio for 10-20mins. But i do cardio then strength training (because i usually cant walk after the strength training, its quite intense).
    i dont take any protein shakes and i hardly drink that much water after the workout (about 100mls), do you think i should start taking protein shakes? if so what exactly should i take (what brand?) because i have no clue. and my diet isn’t the best i hardly ever have fruit but i eat in small portions about 4 times a day.
    if you have any suggestion please help, because ive been watching alot of your workout videos (my workouts are a mixture of yours), and i would really appreciate anything you say. i would love to be as healthy as you.
    please and thank you 🙂

  14. Hi sarah, I find it hard to do lunges. My main concern is if I’m doing them correctly. Do you have any tips on how to do lunges correctly ?

    -- Thanks

  15. Hi sarah, I prefer to use the elliptical machine, can you give me some advice on doing intervel training on it in order to lose weight? I am 5’3″, 151lbs. I work out 5 days a week and also do some strenght training

  16. hiya my daughter wants to loose weight she 12 do you know the best exercise

  17. Hi sarah,

    The past 4 yrs I’ve had 2 children, and i have really let my self go, i use to look really good.I am carrying the weight all in the upper body & alot of it is on my belly, not much at all on my legs, i just look pregnant all the time. I’m 1.61m in height and 74kg, not sure were to start??

    1. best book you can buy is the eat clean diet book. You can also follow the porgram above that fits the amount of weight you are looking to lose.